The book is closed on the 2012-13 college sports year. The final Gatorade shower belongs to UCLA, victors in the College World Series.
The title was the school’s 109th overall, and, by my math, will vault the Bruins ahead of Florida for second place in the all-sports Director’s Cup.
Stanford, forever excelling at sports such as swimming, tennis and water polo, had already clinched its 19th straight Cup.
After baseball is calculated, Tennessee will finish in the mid 30s, about the same as last year and nothing to brag about.
Every national title but four were won by the BCS conferences. The exceptions: the mighty Anteaters of UC-Irvine (men’s volleyball); Yale (men’s ice hockey); Princeton (fencing, field hockey).
And in case you missed it, in a tense battle in Canton, Mich., Nebraska edged Vanderbilt for its fourth bowling title in 10 years. Could this be the real reason the Big Ten poached the Huskers from the Big 12?
The SEC claimed six national titles: football and men’s golf by Alabama; men’s indoor track by Arkansas; women’s gymnastics by Florida; women’s swimming and diving by Georgia. Men’s outdoor track was a tie between Florida and Texas A&M.
Tennessee’s nearest miss was the runner-up finish in softball. Women’s swimming and diving got third.
Historically, UT claims 23 national titles. Four, however, are football years (1938, 1940, 1950, 1967) when someone else won the Associated Press vote that has come to be accepted as the more or less official champion. The Vols are universally acknowledged as football title-holders only in 1951 and 1998.
Eight of the titles come in women’s basketball, the most recent in 2007 and 2008.
Seven are from either indoor or outdoor track and field. Men’s cross country (1972) and men’s swimming (1978) stand alone.
The more intriguing discussion is which sport will produce Tennessee’s next national title, its first since women’s indoor track in 2009?
Softball, with two runner-up finishes in the past seven years, is the safest bet. But 2014 will be a rebuilding year.
A Final Four run in women’s basketball isn’t a stretch, even in the post-Pat Summitt era. UConn, however, will be a heavy favorite for a ninth title in 2013-14.
Men’s tennis has reached the NCAA quarterfinals three of the past four years, losing the title match in 2010. That’s staying in the conversation.
As for the big prize, the crystal footballs are piling up in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee has recently begun collecting bricks.
The hope is they build toward something with more sparkle.